People must stand 'united and together' to ensure terror attacks don't succeed in ultimate aim: Sun Xueling

People must stand 'united and together' to ensure terror attacks don't succeed in ultimate aim: Sun Xueling

Sun Xueling speaks in Parliament on Apr 1
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling speaking in Parliament on Mon (Apr 1). 

SINGAPORE: Should a terror attack happen here, Singaporeans must stand united and not allow the perpetrators to divide the nation and turn people against one another, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling in Parliament on Monday (Apr 1).

She was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng, who asked about the lessons the Home Team can draw on from the recent attacks in Christchurch and Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Apart from a "swift and effective" response from the authorities, the community has an integral part to play as well, said Ms Sun.

"A key part entails being vigilant and reporting suspicious activity to the authorities early," said Ms Sun. "This includes reporting self-radicalised individuals, of whom family members and friends are best placed to detect marked changes in behaviour, for example if they start promoting extreme and intolerant views."

She pointed out that the Home Team has worked with partner agencies to enhance the preparedness of neighbourhoods, schools, workplaces and community organisations, so they know how to respond should an attack occur. Exercises have been conducted, including lockdown drills in schools.

"But above all, the ability of a people to stand united and together, will determine whether such attacks succeed in their ultimate objectives," she added. 

Ms Sun pointed to the show of solidarity in Christchurch, New Zealand in the wake of the mosque shootings. 

"Within hours of the Christchurch attack, people of various faiths rallied around their fellow Muslims," she said. 

"Buddhist groups offered prayers. Churches opened their doors to the Muslims, whose mosques were closed. 

"Despite it being the Sabbath, the holy day of the week for the Jews, synagogues were closed on the Saturday following the attack as a show of solidarity. The Sikh community transported family members of the victims to the burial grounds, and arranged langars, or free vegetarian meals, for those affected and attending the funerals."

The Muslim call to prayer was broadcast across New Zealand on the Friday after the attack, as the entire country mourned together, she added.

"Should an attack happen here, we must likewise stand shoulder to shoulder, and show the attackers that we will not be cowed, that we will not let them divide us as a people, nor turn one Singaporean against the other," Ms Sun said. 

Singapore has made "good progress" in its preparedness as individuals and as a country to deal with a terror attack following the launch of the SGSecure movement in 2016, said Ms Sun.

"We will continue to press ahead with our SGSecure efforts to strengthen Singapore’s preparedness and resilience against those who would do us harm," she added.

Source: CNA/mt(gs)